Why a Faculty Strike Looms at the State University System

Faculty members at the California State University system, the nation’s largest four-year public university system, are planning to cancel classes and strike next week as they demand higher pay and better benefits.

The California Faculty Association, which represents 29,000 professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches, says it will begin a five-day strike on Monday, the first day of the spring semester for most students. Walkouts are planned at all 23 campuses, from Humboldt to San Diego, which together serve nearly 460,000 students.

The strike was set after university officials ended contract negotiations last week, having offered 5 percent raises; the union is seeking 12 percent pay increases. University leaders said they were grappling with a huge budget deficit and could not afford to meet the union’s demands without resorting to layoffs and other cuts.

“We have been in the bargaining process for eight months and the C.F.A. has shown no movement, leaving us no other option” but to break off the talks, Leora Freedman, the university system’s vice chancellor for human resources, said in a statement. She added that the system had recently agreed on 5 percent pay increases with five other labor unions.

The union’s president, Charles Toombs, said he hoped that the university would return to the bargaining table so the strike could be averted.

In addition to raises, the union also wants to increase the salary floor for full-time employees to $64,360 from $54,360, and is asking for other provisions, including caps on class sizes and expansion of paid parental leave.

“That is where we stand,” Toombs told me. “We know that a systemwide strike in the C.S.U. is going to be historic.”

The union’s members mounted one-day work stoppages in early December at four of the system’s largest campuses: Cal Poly Pomona, San Francisco State, Cal State Los Angeles and Sacramento State.

Hazel Kelly, a spokesperson for the system, told me that all campuses would remain open during the strike and that university leaders would try to limit disruptions to students. She said it was possible that not all classes would be canceled, because some faculty members may not participate in the strike.

The job action comes after an especially busy year for labor actions, particularly in California. Hollywood actors and writers went on strike; so did hotel and health care workers. Los Angeles schools employees staged a huge walkout in March, and Oakland educators were off the job for nearly two weeks in May.



Pea Soup Andersen’s, one of California’s most beloved roadside restaurants, has gone dark — and loyal fans are upset.

The public dismay made us wonder which other roadside attractions hold a tender place in the hearts of Californians. What billboards, restaurants or shops do you always visit — or just notice — when you’re on road trips in the Golden State? What do these landmarks mean to you?

Email us at CAtoday@nytimes.com with your stories and memories. Please include your full name and the city in which you live.


Though afternoon tea service may seem like an activity fit for royals (or, historically speaking, mid-19th century English gentry), the tradition is having a resurgence.

In Southern California, institutions like the Peninsula Beverly Hills, the London West Hollywood and Rose Tree Cottage have seen an influx of new customers, many of them in their 20s and 30s, who say that teatime gives them a chance to unplug and connect with others face to face.

The custom, which feels both ceremonious and nostalgic, can be a powerful refuge from the chaos of the outside world, business owners say.

“My husband called it a sanctuary,” Mary Fry, who runs Rose Tree Cottage with her husband, told the Styles reporter Steven Kurutz in a recent article for The Times. “It’s a sanctuary in a mad, crazy world that’s going on right now. People want to escape with something traditional.”


Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword.

Maia Coleman and Briana Scalia contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.

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